Guitar learning question

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Mooncusser, Jul 8, 2006.

  1. Mooncusser

    Mooncusser Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I just thought I'd ask this, as I have often wondered about the response.
    Have any of you learned to play the guitar without lesons, without studing or reading music, and without being aquainted with all the scales?
    In other words I guess I'm asking if any of you learned by just trial and error and just shooting from the hip.
    Let me know if you are out there, I have a couple of questions.
    Take care and the best to all,
    Mass
     
  2. mkl13

    mkl13 Silver Supporting Member

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    I did that for a couple of years and then took lessons in college and basically had to relearn alot of what I had been doing. You can certianly have fun and play well with that approach but it would be much easier on yourself to get a good teacher and learn a little theory.

    IMO
     
  3. Mooncusser

    Mooncusser Member

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    I agree with you both.
    I just started learning how to read tab, which I see helps me out in certain areas that I get stuck in.
    I don't have much time to play, having a bunch of kids and ect, so when I can I have always played by ear, so I could just enjoy the time I can play.
    now what I do is sit with the music, continue to teach myself by ear, and have the tab on hand next to me for further reference.
    Funny though, now that I have gone up and down the neck a trillion and one times I am starting to see where everything ties in as I see the tab working it's structure.
    I appreciate the advice and help.
    Take care,
    Mass
     
  4. dogfood

    dogfood Member

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    I never really cared one way or another about being able to read music and all that stuff. then I got bored and started reading (decifering) music just because I was bored.:crazy
     
  5. bayner

    bayner Member

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    I personally don't know any friends that play guitar that know how to "read music." Any guitar player will probably agree with me telling you to play with as many people as possible. Books, videos, magazines, ect. are all fine, but not as valuable as playing with other musicians. You should learn from what ever source motivates you however. But for me, I always learned more by sitting down with a friend or even stranger and playing for a couple hours. There you will see and hear different licks, styles, and shortcuts right in front of you. And you can even say "hey stop and show me that again." I took a total of 10 lessons from 4 different people before I got tired of paying for it and figured that if I was going to spend that kind of money, I would rather bust my butt and learn on my own as much as possible and use that money to buy my next "real" guitar. Because I started on some pretty bad instruments. As probably most people do. But that's good, because as the years pass and you get better, so will your taste in instruments and you will learn to value why you spend $1,800 on an acoustic or electric guitar. Have fun! Contact me anytime for questions.
     
  6. dave s

    dave s Member

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    I'll say this again ... I learned to read music playing two bass clef instruments in concert and marching bands during my school years. This did not translate into teaching me how to play guitar at all.

    What DID help me immensely was having a dad who showed me all the first position chords and variations of each so that I could easily 'hear' the difference and understand what had to happen to each chord to make the next and the next. Very basic stuff.

    But it trained my ear enough to hear those subtleties in music which enabled me to pick up by ear pretty much anything I wanted to learn.

    If I were teaching beginners, this might be a strategy I'd employ. Honestly, I couldn't teach them much more! :jo

    dave
     
  7. gennation

    gennation Member

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    I never took lessons, didn't go to school, etc...

    But, I had a lot of guitar player friends who showed me stuff to get my feet on the ground. And, from that I got into theory heavily, and into ust about any style I could get my hands on...or make a buck at.

    So, "lessons" is a open-ended term I think.

    Now, Alex Liefson finding a guitar in a cave before music even existed...that a whole other story ;)
     
  8. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    I read, know theory, majored in music, taught myself jazz, copped stuff off lps, learned from friends and took lessons many years ago.

    I guarantee I wouldn't have done 1/8 as well on classical gtr without a qualified teacher.

    I took a pick-up gtr lesson the other day and damn if the kid didn't show me something really cool. Been messing with it all week.

    Never too old or advanced to learn something new no matter the source.
     
  9. willhutch

    willhutch Supporting Member

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    I started when my mom bought me a guitar for Xmas in 1984. At the same time she gave me "Pocket Beatles", a paperback with easy chords for 100 or so Beatles tunes. I was big into the Beatles at the time (still am). It was utterly amazing to me that I could put my fingers into those shapes, strum a chord, sing a line AND MAKE MUSIC!!! I felt this on the first day of practice and was hooked everafter.

    Guitar is easy to access in this way. That's why there are so many millions of beginner guitar players.

    However, I feel that guitar is a difficult instrument to play well. Particularly if you try to go it alone without any instruction.

    One thing about guitar players is that we start playing because we want to emulate our rock-n-roll idols. So the first thing we do is learn the intros to Smoke on the Water, Stairway to Heavan, Iron Man....whatever. We also get a hold of a pentatonic scale and start wanking. Unlike people who play piano or saxophone, guitarist rarely start by studying Mel Bay Vol 1 and working their way up, developing a solid foundation. How many guys do you know that can play a sloppy, but recognizeable, rendition of "Eruption" but couldn't play a pleasant "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". I was kinda like that. It was only after I "grew up" that I got beyond the guitar itself and realized I wasn't much of a musician, despite being able to get around the fretboard. I've spent the last several years going back to basics.

    I'm rambling. Not sure what the intent of the original post is, and I'm confident I'm not being helpful to our brother Mass.

    In a feeble attempt to say something helpful, I guess I'd offer that the way you choose to learn should reflect what you hope to do with your guitar playing. If you wanna have fun on a casual basis, you'll make one set of choices. If you want to make it a lifetime endeavor, you'll want to develop good fundamentals and an understanding of music - including reading.

    Unfortunately there are a lot of players out there that want to elevate their playing, but have years of bad habits and gaps in their knowledge. And we've got kids and jobs and limited time to break it down and do the necessary work. To those of you who fit this description: I dedicate this moving version of "Smoke on the Water".
     
  10. bayner

    bayner Member

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    Good points willhutch!
     
  11. gassyndrome

    gassyndrome Member

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    What was it? :)
     
  12. Antero

    Antero Member

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    *raises hand*

    No lessons. Dad showed me a few chords, I looked up some songs, and off I went. I knew what I wanted to learn, which was important - I didn't want to be any sort of guitar god, I wanted to play rhythm and sing. I was fortunate in this regard, because my interests were such that I never became more concerned with the instrument than the music, or with emulating a guitar hero - my guitar hero was Bob Dylan, for crying out loud.

    No scales. I can use 'em if you tell me what notes I have access to, but about the only thing I know is the major scale.

    Music theory - just chord construction/progression/harmony sort of stuff, really. Self-taught, as that was something I identified as useful and pursued.

    Musical notation - None. Nada. Nothing. Zip. I read music by going "F-A-C-E." I've been in choirs and acappella groups for years, and I have a good ear and learn quickly, and as a result I kind of faked my way through without ever learning to read music. I can sight-sing a little, simply from getting relative familiarity with those little black dots and feeling the key and chords. Don't ask me to do that on guitar, though. =P


    At this point, in my first proper band situation, we realized that I actually don't suck as badly as I thought. Every other person in the band is a better guitarist than I, including the keyboardist and bassist, but I can do things none of them can - find the strange chords and grab them smoothly, and bash away at the guitar like it's my enemy. I have a style purely because of the ways I worked around my inabilities, and the focus I placed on very specific things.

    One regret - I can't fingerpick. No teacher means no right-hand technique.
     
  13. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Yeah, and immediately tuning it to 4ths and playing a chord progression out of a harmonized diatonic scale no less! Pretty talented guy. :D
     
  14. Mooncusser

    Mooncusser Member

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    Great thread..........thanks for all the pointers.
    It's amazing how much we learn from eachother as well as on our own.
    Best to you all,
    Mass
     
  15. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    Learn these five chord forms - they are all the same notes, just in different order:

    ------7--
    ----5----
    ----5----
    ---4-----
    ---x-----
    ---x-----

    ----7------
    ----7------
    ------9----
    --------10-
    ---x-------
    ---x-------

    -------12--
    -------12--
    -----11----
    ---10------
    ---x------
    ---x------

    ---x------
    ----12----
    --11------
    ------14---
    --------15-
    ---x------

    ---x-------
    --------17--
    ------16----
    ------16----
    ----15------
    ---x--------

    This form, no matter which position shown above, equals the following chords:

    F#mb5/11
    Am6/9
    CM7#5
    Ab#5b9
    D13

    I am going to treat the F#mb5/11 as an F#diminshed/minor 7th commonly called a 1/2 diminished chord.

    So to play a ii-V-i,
    play the first chord position (ii - 1/2dim)

    move the same position up a minor 3rd (3 frets) which makes a V - Dom7#5/b9

    move it up a major 3rd (4 frets) and it makes: i - minor 6/9.

    EX. ii = (F#1/2dim)
    ------7--
    ----5----
    ----5----
    ---4-----
    ---x-----
    ---x-----

    Up 3 frets (m3)
    V = (B7#5/b9)

    ------10--
    ----8----
    ----8----
    ---7-----
    ---x-----
    ---x-----

    Up 4 frets (M3)
    i = (e mi6/9)

    ------14--
    ----12----
    ----12----
    ---11-----
    ---x-----
    ---x-----

    You can do the same thing for all five chord positions shown above. IE - Start with the first form, then move up a minor 3rd then move it a major 3rd.

    Now you can play an A harmonic minor scale over the first chord

    Then play a C harmonic minor scale over the second chord (same fingering different position)

    and finally an E harmonic minor scale over the last chord.

    Also, figure out how to do ii-V-i but change the chord forms.

    The trick is to figure out where the roots are. I find it best to use the bottom two strings and visualize the root on them even thought they're not being played.
     

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